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Parenting in Diverse Cultures Essay

Culture may influence child activities and behaviors through the organization of the physical and social settings of every day life. Social as well as cultural norms, values, and conventions can direct and control the child’s behavior through the progression of social evaluation. Throughout childhood and preadolescence, due to children’s particular need for peer assimilation and closeness, peer evaluation and social recognition in the peer group can play a critical role in the mediation of cultural influences on individual functioning.

Moreover, in the development of socialization, culturally shaped parental belief systems and parenting practices can mediate and restrained children’s acquisition of cultural messages. Finally, formal training in educational institutions such as the school constitutes another significant channel for the transmission of human knowledge and cultural values from adults to children in modern societies. Culturally diverse children can have an expectation concerning confidentiality as do American-born children. Also, this concept in fact runs counter to therapeutic attempts to enlist the parents as partners in their children’s treatment.

Discretion with culturally diverse adolescents can be particularly challenging. Often, culturally diverse families experience conflict while children reach adolescence and instigate to identify mainly with the values of their American peer culture. On the contrary to the elongated American adolescence phase devoted to ongoing education and the development of peer relationships, culturally diverse parents can have experienced their own abbreviated adolescence cut short by the need to find employment, by early marriage, and/or by parenting.

They do not recognize the push for independence among American adolescents. Culturally diverse adolescents can want to pursue the activities of American youth despite knowing their parents would condemn. Researchers are interested in parental ideologies concerning childrearing as they may provide useful information concerning the explanation of different parenting behaviors across cultures. Moreover, it is a practical assumption that parental cognitions, ideas, and beliefs serve a mediating function in development of cultural influences on parental attitudes and behaviors toward the child (Goodnow, 1995).

Indeed, it has been found that parents in diverse cultures have different expectations and goals regarding parenting and that socialization goal are linked with parental judgment and valuation of normal and abnormal child behaviors (Hess, Kashiwagi, Azuma, Price, & Dixon, 1980). In traditional Chinese cultures, for instance, “filial piety” is a Confucian doctrine dictating that children vow obedience and reverence to parents.

Chinese parents, in turn, are accountable for “governing” (i. e. , teaching, disciplining) their children, and are held responsible for their children’s failures. While individualistic values are underlined in Western cultures, with children being mingled to be independent and self-assertive (Hess et al. , 1980), Chinese children are socialized to be moderate, well-mannered, reciprocally dependent, and concerned with the collective. Cross-cultural differences in parenting ideology can be illustrated also in different values concerning child independence in collectivistic and individualistic cultures.

A sense of autonomy is measured crucial to adaptive development in many Western cultures (Maccoby & Martin, 1983), but might not bear such implication to the adaptive development of children raised in other cultures. Indeed, there is little emphasis on socializing children to be independent in Japanese culture (Rothbaum, Pott, Azuma, Miyake, & Weisz, 2000). While American mothers are more likely than Japanese mothers to persuade their children personal autonomy and forcefulness such as defending one’s rights, Japanese mothers are more likely to socialize their children to be polite and deferential to authority figures (Hess et al. , 1980).

Weisz, Rothbaum, and Blackburn (1984) argued that diverse emphases on self-sufficiency might account for such cross-cultural differences as Japanese children showing more self-control and sympathy to others and American children being more self-expressive. Parental belief systems consist of a wide range of thoughts, perceptions, values, and expectations regarding normative developmental processes, socialization goals, and parenting strategies (Goodnow, 1995). Cultural disparities in parental beliefs and values are a major source of involvement to cross-cultural differences in parental attitudes, actions, and behaviors in parenting.

Nevertheless, it must be noted that the links between parental beliefs and behaviors characteristically range from weak to modest in the Western literature (Sigel, McGillicuddy-DeLisi, & Goodnow, 1992). It is largely indefinite how belief systems might be linked with parenting practices at the cross-cultural level, as these two constructs have not been obviously differentiated in several cross-cultural studies. Parents of diverse culture have the same hopes as well as dreams for their children and families that the general population does.

Most desire their children to get a good education and become prolific members of society. In the more traditional families, these desires comprise learning about tribal values, beliefs, and customs. These families want successful children in a manner reliable with cooperative, noncompetitive tribal, community, and family values as well as aspirations (Burgess, 1980). Parents in diverse culture often take an dynamic role in socializing their children concerning the consequences of their ethnicity in the larger society (Harrison et al. , 1990). Oppression provides the framework of teaching about the assaults of typical culture.

Parents teach their children to watch for subtle clues about whether they are welcome in a given situation (Cross, 1995). As children mature, they are more well-informed about differences in race, and they come to recognize themselves with a particular tribe; though, they appear to prefer toys, activities, and friendships from the prevailing culture. Parents (Dawson, 1988) emphasize the significance of self-esteem in their children: “If my children are proud, if my children have an individuality, if my children know who they are and if they are proud to be who they are, they’ll be able to meet anything in life” (p.

48). Positive self-esteem provides self-assurance, energy, and optimism to master life’s tasks. This positive sense of self and confidence is significant for parents as well as children. Parents who feel capable in their parenting are more able to involve themselves in their children’s lives outside the home. Parental involvement is significant to the future educational development of their children (Dawson, 1988). In diverse culture families believe that their children should have the opportunity to grow into adulthood with the considerate that they are worthwhile individuals who are equal to all other Americans.

American children should believe that they are respected for their culture, as they value the worth of others. They should believe that they are valued in American society and that they can attain in any way they choose according to their individual talents (Noley, 1992). In diverse culture, children view themselves more pessimistically than do their dominant culture counterparts, let say self-concept of Native American children is negatively linked with chronological age and years of schooling.

Soares and Soares (1969) found that in spite of living in poverty, disadvantaged children in elementary school did not essentially suffer from lower self-esteem and a lower sense of self-worth. These findings suggest that just being poor is not the leading factor in the low self-esteem of Native American students. Though, researchers have long been interested in family influences on child social and cognitive functioning. The general consent is that family, as a main socialization agent, plays a significant role in the development of individuals’ adaptive and maladaptive functioning.

This belief has been sustained by the results of numerous empirical studies concerning the associations amongst parenting practices, family organization and family socio-ecological conditions, and child adaptive and maladaptive functioning in diverse settings, although different opinions still exist (Harris, 1995). Among family variables, parenting beliefs and practices compose a central theme in the cross-cultural study of upbringing. Several explanations for cross-cultural variations in parenting have been suggested.

First, an anthropological viewpoint proposes that differential vulnerability to threats to the survival of children accounts for the changeability in parenting practices (LeVine, 1974). on the other hand, it has been suggested that parental needs to engender the values and attitudes essential for becoming a competent adult, able to achieve expected roles in his or her respective culture, may be related to diverse parenting practices across cultures (Hoffman, 1987).

It has also been argued that cross-cultural differences in parenting attitudes and behaviors can reflect variability in beliefs pertaining to children’s distinctiveness and to the world in general (Super & Harkness, 1986). Reference: Burgess, B. J. (1980). Parenting in the Native-American community. In M. D. Fantini & R. Cardenas, Parenting in a multicultural society (pp. 63–73). New York: Longman. Cross, T. L. (1995). The worldview of American Indian families. In H. I. McCubbin, E. A Thompson, A. I. Thompson, & J. E. Fromer (Eds. ), Ethnic minority families: Native and immigrant American families (Vol.

1, pp. 143–58). Boston: Sage Dawson, J. (1988). “If my children are proud”: Native education and the problem of selfesteem. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 15 (1), 43–50. Goodnow, J. J. (1995). Parents’ knowledge and expectations. In M. H. Bornstein (Ed. ), Handbook of parenting, Vol. 3, Status and social conditions of parenting (pp. 305-332). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Harrison, A. O. , Wilson, M. N. , Pine, C. J. , Chan, S. Q. , & Buriel, R. (1990). Family ecologies of ethnic minority children. Child Development, 61, 347–62. Hess, R. D. , Azuma, H. , Kashiwagi, K. , Holloway, S.

D. , & Wenegrat, A. (1987). Cultural variations in socialization for school achievement: Contrasts between Japan and the United States. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,8, 421-440. Hess, R. D. , Kashiwagi, K. , Azuma, H. , Price, G. G. , & Dixon, W. P. (1980). Maternal expectations for mastery of developmental tasks in Japan and the United States. International Journal of Psychology,15, 259-271. Hoffman, L. W. (1987). The value of children to parents and parenting patterns. Social Behavior,2, 123-141. LeVine, R. A. (1974). Parental goals: A cross-cultural view.

Teachers College Record,76 (2), 226-239. Luftig, R. L. (1983). Effects of schooling on the self-concept of Native American students. The School Counselor, 30 (4), 251–60. Maccoby, E. E. , & Martin, C. N. (1983). Socialization in the context of family: Parentchild interaction. In E. M. Hetherington (Ed. ), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 4, Socialization, personality, and social development (pp. 1-102). New York: Wiley. Noley, G. (1992). Educational reform and American Indian cultures. Tempe, AZ: Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Arizona State University.

(ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 362 341) Rothbaum, F. , Pott, M. , Azuma, H. , Miyake, K. , & Weisz, J. (2000). The development of close relationships in Japan and the United States: Paths of symbiotic harmony and generative tension. Child Development,71, 1121-1142. Sigel, I. E. , McGillicuddy-DeLisi, A. V. , & Goodnow, J. J. (1992). Parental belief systems: The psychological consequences for children. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Soares, A. T. , & Soares, L. M. (1969). Self-perceptions of culturally disadvantaged children. American Educational Research Journal, 6 (1), 31–45.

Super, C. M. , & Harkness, S. (1986). The developmental niche: A conceptualization at the interface of child and culture. International Journal of Behavioral Development,9, 545-569. Weisz, J. R. , Chaiyasit, W. , Weiss, B. , Eastman, K. L. , & Jackson, E. W. (1995). A multimethod study of problem behavior among Thai and American children in school: Teacher reports versus direct observations. Child Development,66, 402-415. Weisz, J. R. , Rothbaum, F. , & Blackburn, T. C. (1984).

Standing out and standing in. American Psychologist,39, 955-969. Weisz, J. R. , Suwanlert, S. , Chaiyasit, W. , & Walter, B. R. (1987). Over- and undercontrolled referral problems among Thai and American children and adolescents: The wat and wai of cultural differences. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,55, 719-726. Weisz, J. R. , Suwanlert, S. , Chaiyasit, W. , Weiss, B. , Walter, B. R. , & Anderson, W. W. (1988). Thai and American perspectives on over- and undercontrolled child behavior problems: Exploring the threshold model among parents, teachers, and psychologists. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,56, 601-609.


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